In San Francisco, it seems the only way to notice the arrival of winter is the Christmas Tree in Union Square.

The difference between June and December is about 10 degrees and some extra rainy days.

We rarely take off our sweater but almost never put on our parka. Besides a very light dusting in San Francisco’s highest neighborhoods last February, the City hasn’t seen snow since 1976. And although weather prediction is a tricky trade, I wouldn’t gamble on it happening this year.

But while the rest of the country may mock (and envy) us for our mild weather, some of the nation’s fiercest snowfall is recorded in California’s Eastern Sierras.It’s an ideal state for those that want the best of both worlds. There are few other places in the world where you could ski and surf in one day (granted there’d be some serious driving involved).

So with winter’s most cherished month now upon us, let’s take some time to pay tribute to California’s best winter locations. We have collected some the very best traveler manuals and good old-fashioned photography books for your snowy enjoyment, and all found at the San Francisco Public Library:

For the Travelers and Winter Sports Enthusiasts:

1.  The Rough Guide to Yosemite, Sequoia and Kings Canyon, by Paul Whitfield
2.  Ski & Snowboard California’s Sierra Nevada : the Complete Guide to Downhill Skiing, Snowboarding, and the Greatest Winter Sports Throughout California  by Martha Perantoni 
3.  Snow California:  Delicious Destinations, Secret Hideaways, Expert Sources  by Lena Katz

For those wishing to observe rather than experience the cold:

  1. Ansel Adams California, by Ansel Adams (1997)
  2. The Mountains of California, by John Muir: Introduction by Bill McKibben (2001)
  3. California the Beautiful: Spirit and Place, text compiled and edited by Peter Beren; photographs by Galen Rowell

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